Library News: Some small changes in library services under COVID Level Red


    By Carole Howard
    PREVIEW Columnist, and the library staff

    Our county is now operating under COVID Level Red: Severe Risk. Because libraries have been declared a critical service, we are able to stay open — with some modifications to our operations. Here is the current status:

    • We are limited to 10 patrons at a time plus staff in the building, since we must operate at only 25 percent capacity.

    • We remain open on Thursdays from 1 to 7 p.m. with 1 to 2 p.m. reserved for seniors and higher-risk populations. 

    • Other hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for seniors and higher risk populations. Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays: closed.

    • We are accepting meeting room reservations only for individuals or members of the same household, with library programs having first dibs on the rooms. You can schedule only so far out, usually two weeks to a month, depending on where we are in the month. 

    • Hand sanitizers are available and there will be frequent cleanings inside the building throughout the day. Please practice social distancing and wear facial coverings while you are in the building. If you don’t have a mask, we are happy to give one to you. 

    • Nine computers are available. In most cases usage will be allowed for three hours per day. Staff will clean and disinfect the computers between uses.

    • One early literacy computer is available for youngsters Monday through Saturday. 

    • Curbside service continues Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. except for Thursdays, when it’s from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Phone 264-2209 when you are in the parking lot so staff can bring the items out for you. If you put a hold on something, please wait for your usual alert (email, phone call or text) before coming to pick it up. 

    • You can drop your returns of books, CDs and DVDs in the drop box at City Market, as well as in the drop box at the library. No donations in the City Market box, please.

    • Notary service is available on a very limited basis. Please call for an appointment. The cost is $5 per notary. 

    • You can place holds on items from other libraries. They are in different stages of reopening, so items may take longer than usual. 

    • We’re happy to provide tech help in person or over the phone for our online resources.

    “We are very glad that we can continue serving our community’s needs while still keeping patrons and staff safe,” said Meg Wempe, library director. “We’re dividing into two smaller work groups to make every effort to serve you well and safely. But please be aware that some of our services may be a little slower than normal, so we ask for your patience and understanding.”

    Special note

    “We want people to always feel welcome in the library and to experience a very friendly vibe when they visit,” Wempe said. “But we need to remind everyone that, similar to other public indoor spaces in Colorado, we must follow the executive order that requires people ages 11 or older to wear a covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within any public indoor space. If you are unable or unwilling to wear a mask, we have made reasonable accommodations and are pleased to assist you outside the building through our curbside service.”

    Library closure

    Your library will be closed today, Thursday, Dec. 10, for staff education.

    Hot Chocolate Hullabaloo

    Like so many other activities in our current COVID world, our annual holiday Hot Chocolate Hullabaloo has had to adapt — and move to your homes rather than take place at the library. We will have free materials for crafts, activities and packets to make hot chocolate at the library for you to pick up starting Dec. 14 and lasting until supplies run out. Have fun at home.

    New teen book club

    The free tween book club has morphed to a teen book club for sixth through 12th grades due to the age of the interested parties. Join us for a lively discussion next Tuesday, Dec. 15, from 4 to 5 p.m. on Zoom about this month’s book, “The Wren Hunt” by Mary Watson. Stop by the library to pick up a copy. To join the session and help us decide what to read next, please go to

    New knitting takeaways

    We are adding free knitting takeaways to our collection of crafts and activities you can pick up at the library entrance during open hours to take for your in-home enjoyment. We’ll have patterns, craft ideas, instructions and some limited supplies available. 

    Legal clinic tomorrow

    The free legal clinic each month is happening by appointment tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 11, from 2 to 3 p.m. by telephone or Zoom. You can have the volunteer attorney phone you directly or you can come into the library and meet via Zoom. 

    To be added to the sign-up sheet for these calls, send an email titled “Sign-up for Free Legal Clinic,” with your first name and phone number, to, or phone or stop by the library. The volunteer attorney’s time is limited, so it’s first-come first-served. 

    LEGO challenge

    Join us Saturday, Dec. 12, at 10 a.m. for a free all-ages LEGO challenge via an image posted on Facebook and the library website. The image will invite participants to use your own pieces to create something that will fit the challenge. If you don’t have LEGOs, we will have a few grab bags available at the library that you can pick up to complete the challenge. 

    New writing challenge

    Twice this month, we are posting a new writing challenge on the library’s Facebook page. The current challenge was posted Dec. 7 and the next one will be Dec. 21. We hope you will challenge your creativity by participating. This is a free all-ages activity.

    Adult DIY: Holiday treats

    You can access our food-themed DIY from Nov. 20 that will inspire you to create new appetizers and desserts for the holidays on the library’s website.

    New after-school program

    In response to COVID, we have revamped our free after-school program into STEAM enrichment kits, STEAM standing for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, for ages 5 and up. Registration is required at 264-2209. Pick up your kit and then bring your completed projects back to the library to be displayed in the last week of the month.

    DIY craft takeaway
    for kids

    Drop by your library for free DIY crafts takeaways for youngsters age 10 and older. Just pick up a packet outside the library and follow the instructions.

    In-person gaming

    Free in-person gaming is suspended for the time being due to COVID safety concerns. 

    Storywalk for kids

    Every other Thursday, Josie posts signs outside the library that follow the sidewalk up towards the elementary school detailing a new free Storywalk for kids. The Dec. 3-16 theme is dream time. After you finish the walk, pick up materials for a craft or activity at the library. 

    Tech Time

    Make a 15- or 30-minute appointment for one of three free in-person slots available noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Brad will help one person (or one couple) at a time. If you have a Tech Time appointment on Thursday, phone from the parking lot or knock loudly on the front door to be let in. 


    Free in-person classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. by appointment. Please register so we can keep it to a small group in our limited open spaces. No walk-ins, please. 

    Dungeons and Dragons 

    Join us Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for Dungeons and Dragons free for teens and young adults on Google Meet. Contact to learn how to join. If you don’t have Internet access, contact us anyway — we may be able to accommodate you in the library. 

    Children’s programs on Facebook 

    Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., join us on the library’s Facebook page for free children’s programs. Wednesday storytimes are on Facebook Live, so you can interact with Josie. Saturday’s Discovery Times -— with games, art ideas, science experiments, history and more — are prerecorded. 

    If you have a Facebook account, log in to Facebook and search for the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library. If you don’t have a Facebook account, access the page by visiting our website and clicking the Facebook icon (a lowercase f) in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Or, contact us and we can send you a direct link. 

    Adult education 

    Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) accelerated GED course takes place in person Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m. Come to your library to get help from Mark with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more. Appointments required; please contact us by phone or email. 

    Activities calendars

    To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your family at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month. There are two versions — youth and adults.

    Current building code manuals

    We now have five 2015 international building code manuals, which is the year currently being used by the Archuleta County Building Department: IBC, IEBC, IRC, IMC and IFGC.

    Large print westerns

    “Killer Take All” by William W. and J.A. Johnstone is a Duff MacCallister western. “The Wolves of Seven Pines” by E.L. Ripley is the latest in the Ralph Compton Sundown Riders series.


    “No Time Like The Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality” is a memoir by Michael J. Fox, actor and Parkinson’s advocate. “Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America” by Ijeoma Oluo explores the effect of white male supremacy on the country. “Black Futures” edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham is a collection of essays, interviews, art, photos, poems, tweets and screenshots celebrating Black life.

    Books on CD

    “How to Raise an Elephant” by Alexander McCall Smith is a No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency mystery. “A Song for the Dark Times” by Ian Rankin is an Inspector Resus mystery.


    “The Irishman” is the Martin Scorsese epic crime boss story starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

    Downloadable e-books and audiobooks 

    We have a wide variety of downloadable e-books and downloadable audio books for patrons of all ages — children, tweens, teens and adults. Using cloudLibrary, you can download a book to read or an audio book to listen to. The items in cloudLibrary are purchased separately from physical items, so the books available are different — and it continues to use the consortium’s contributions, not just those that we bought. That is why you need to select AspenCat Union Catalog when setting up cloudLibrary for use. Please email or phone us at 264-2209 if you need our help setting up this service on your device. 


    For their material donations, we thank our anonymous donors. Please put your material donations into the drop box at the library — not at City Market, which is reserved for returns. Donations undergo the same rigorous three-day quarantine process as returns. 

    Quotable quote

    “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” — William Arthur Ward (1921-1994), writer of inspirational maxims. 


    For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books, e-books, CDs and DVDs from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at